Sometimes you have to win ugly. On Saturday, No. 10 Penn State (10-2, 7-2 Big Ten) certainly won in ugly fashion. With a handful of roster changes for one reason or the other, the Nittany Lions pulled away for a 27-6 win against Rutgers (2-10, 0-9 Big Ten) after leading by just a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
The win by Penn State gave the program a season with double digits in the win total. It’s the third time in the last four years Penn State has won 10 or more games. This marks the first time since Penn State’s first four seasons in the Big Ten that the Nittany Lions have won 10 or more games in three out of four seasons. Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1993 and went 10-2 with a victory in the Citrus Bowl. The following season, Penn State went 12-0 with a victory in the Rose Bowl against Oregon. After a 9-3 season in 1995, Penn State went 11-2 in 1996. Between 1997 and 2015, Penn State had four years with 10 or more wins, including back-to-back 11-win seasons in 2008 and 2009.
Penn State is hoping an ugly win won’t damage their ranking too badly in the upcoming College Football Playoff rankings, but the Nittany Lions could be in a position to return to one of the New Years Six bowl games. The Rose Bowl will likely take the highest-ranked Big Ten team available (if Ohio State goes to the playoff, Penn State could potentially be the next in line depending on what happens with Wisconsin in the rankings). The Orange Bowl takes the highest-ranked available team from the Big Ten or SEC (or Notre Dame), and the Cotton Bowl will have an at-large spot open to pair with the highest-ranked Group of 5 conference champion.
Journey Brown powered Penn State to a sluggish win against the Scarlet Knights. The breakout star running back for the Nittany Lions had three rushing touchdowns and 103 yards in the win. Will Levis got the start at quarterback after replacing an injured Sean Clifford last week against Ohio State (Clifford did not play in the game). Levis led the team with 108 yards while Brown was right behind him with 103 yards. Levis only managed to pass for 81 yards, however, in a rough offensive showing by the Nittany Lions. Rutgers put up an inspiring fight and out-gained Penn State 383-333 in the game. Rutgers also string together more first downs (19-17) and won the turnover battle (+1). But when push came to shove, Penn State prevailed on the ground and walked away with another double-digit victory.
Finally, one of the top defensive players in the nation has been recognized with a significant hardware win.
Sunday night, it was announced that Auburn’s Derrick Brown has been named as the winner of the 2019 Lott IMPACT Trophy. This award, named for one of the game’s all-time greats, highlights a player’s performance on the field as well as off of it.
Not only does this award honor defensive excellence on the field but the player who most represents the qualities of the honor’s namesake, former USC All-American Ronnie Lott, off of it — Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.
Brown is the first-ever player from Auburn to win the award. The defensive tackle is also the second-straight player from the SEC to claim it, with Kentucky’s Josh Allen serving as the 2018 winner.
In addition to Brown, the other finalists for this year’s Lott IMPACT Trophy were Ohio State safety Jordan Fuller, Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons and Cal linebacker Evan Weaver.
After a run on bringing in assistants from Boone, Eli Drinkwitz has gotten about the business of retention in Columbia.
In a press release, Missouri confirmed that Drinkwitz has decided to retain Brick Haley as part of his first coaching staff with the football program. Haley wil continue on as the Tigers’ defensive line coach, and will carry the title of assistant head coach as well.
“In my short time of being around Brick I know him to be a man of high character who gets the most out of his players,” said Drinkwitz in a statement. “His wealth of knowledge with the defensive line is exactly what we’re looking for to motivate young men.”
Haley has spent the past three seasons with the Tigers. Prior to that, he was the line coach at Texas (2015-16), LSU (2009-14) and Mississippi State (2004-06) at the collegiate level.
From 2007-08, Haley was the line coach for the NFL’s Chicago Bears.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue at Mizzou and I’m excited to work with Coach Drink and his staff,” said Haley. “Our family loves Mizzou and being part of the Columbia community, so we’re thrilled to keep stakes in the ground here and I’m looking forward to getting to work on doing great things.”
It seems Alex Hornibrook‘s college career is complete.
Florida State interim head coach Odell Haggins said on Saturday that Hornibrook is no longer with the Seminoles as the club prepares for the Sun Bowl
He will join (former) teammate Cam Akers in that regard.
A graduate transfer from Wisconsin, Hornibrook appeared in five games this season. His peak as a Seminole came on Sept. 28, when he completed 29-of-40 passes for 316 yards with three touchdowns and no picks. For the year, Hornibrook hit 84-of-122 throws for 986 yards with seven scores versus two picks.
In three years at Wisconsin, Hornibrook threw for 5,438 yards and 47 touchdowns.
SMU wide receiver Reggie Roberson, Jr., will return for his senior season in 2020, he announced earlier this week.
Roberson did so through a statement that at first read as if he would leave the Hilltop. “In the past couple of weeks, it has come to my attention that I am able to forgo my senior year and enter the NFL draft. I want to thank Coach Dykes for giving me the opportunity to come to SMU, and play the game I love in my hometown in front of my family and friends,” it began.
However, like a a classic Roberson open field move, he quickly changed directions and sprinted toward opportunity. “I have decided to come back and play my senior year at SMU. There is a lot of unfinished business that I left on the field that I need to take care of next season.”
A native of DeSoto, Texas, just south of Dallas, Roberson was one of SMU’s top players before he was lost to a foot injury in October. He caught 11 passes for 180 yards in the Ponies’ opening week win over Arkansas State and hauled in eight passes for 250 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-21 drubbing of Temple on Oct. 19.
For the year, Roberson caught 43 passes for 803 yards and six touchdowns over seven-plus games. Spread over a 13-game season, he was on pace to end the year in the neighborhood of 80 receptions for 1,500 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Roberson originally signed with West Virginia out of high school.